- Jul 2012
Arrian (cited above) describes Alexander's preparations, reconnaissance missions and ambitions with regard to Arabia as being tailored to sailing around and penetrating deep into Arabia, with a desire to conquering new mysterious lands both in Arabia itself and on the surrounding islands. This speaks to ambitions that transcended what the Achaemenids appear to have ever possessed. My partner conducts research on perfumes in the ancient world, and Arabia was mistakenly regarded as being a place replete with myrrh, frankincense, cinnamon and other luxury trade items. Indeed, Arrian describes these products as being part of the appeal for Alexander. The problem is that many Greeks and later many Romans do not appear to have realized that Arabia and the surrounding islands were not producing these items, but were associated with these products because they were regions through which trade routes from south Asia crossed.